Exceptional collaboration between companies and the CEMS programme results in several business projects every spring

The Business Project is a great opportunity to create strong relationships between CEMS students and companies.
CEMS Business Project team, KONE, spring 2023
The Business Project group for KONE; business tutor Jaakko Rouvinen, Vice President, Finance Development on the right, academic supervisor of the project, Professor Vesa Puttonen on the left and Julia Klemola 3rd from the right.

The CEMS Global Alliance in Management Education was established in 1988. It constitutes a unique global community that comprises 33 member schools, 75 corporate partners and 8 social partners. Aalto University School of Business joined the alliance in 1998. 

The business project forms approximately half of the students’ workload during CEMS spring term. These projects offer participating companies an opportunity to pick the brains of young students and get an outside-in perspective on a particular business opportunity or potential challenge. CEMS students a.k.a CEMSies often tell that Business Project is one of their highlights of the CEMS year. According to them, it’s amazing to be able to apply a lot of the skills they had gathered during the studies and previous work experience to a real problem that the company is trying to solve. Also, they say that a lot of the companies CEMSies have worked with are happy to offer job opportunities or internships for students after successful projects. This year’s spring KONE was one of the companies which commissioned CEMS business projects.

Business Project for KONE

CEMS student Julia Klemola was a member in one of the two KONE Teams. She says that the process was quite straightforward to the team. ‘After being introduced to our project topic and scope, my team and I started to familiarize ourselves with KONE and the company’s Finance function. Our project was very focused on the Finance function and its strategy and therefore developing an in-depth understanding of it was crucial. After that we dove deeper into the research by conducting a literature review and data collection and analysis. In May, we finally got to present our results to our tutors and peers.’

According to Julia, the most interesting aspect during the spring was the data collection phase which the team conducted by interviewing several high-level finance executives at KONE. ‘I was positively surprised about how much access we got to the employees at KONE. Being able to talk to people who had been with KONE for a long time was very eye-opening and made me understand that our project was truly valued within the company.’ 

Jaakko Rouvinen, Vice President, Finance Development, says that the process was a very positive experience for them at KONE. ‘We were impressed by the skillset and ambition level of the students. Quite soon after the start of the Business Projects it became clear that the group will be able to produce great results that will be very useful for us. The level of professionalism that our student group demonstrated was also very impressive.’ 

As an Investor Relations Coordinator at KONE

During the last weeks of the CEMS business project, Julia applied for an open position that was advertised on KONE’s website as well as separately to the CEMSies. She was hired and started working at KONE two weeks after the Business Project was finished.  

‘I would say that having gotten a good understanding of the company through the Business Project helped me with the interview process. I have always been interested in KONE as it is one of the most valued Finnish companies with an interesting history and very known globally. However, I hadn’t necessarily considered KONE a potential employer before the Business Project. During the project I got to see how excited the people working at KONE were about the business and the company’s great culture was really shining through during our discussions with various employees.’

Julia Klemola is working in the Investor Relations team which provides great exposure to all KONE’s business lines and areas. ‘I can easily say that my day-to-day work is always very interesting. In addition to this, there have been a couple of highlights: Last week I got to visit KONE’s factory in Hyvinkää as we took a group of investors there for a tour. It was amazing to see some of our products and innovations in real life and of course see where and how they are manufactured.’

‘In September, I got to present the results of our Business Project to about a hundred Finance employees here at KONE. I got to take some of the time reserved for our CFO’s presentation, and of course I was a bit nervous as he was speaking to the same people right before and after me. However, the presentation went really well, and it was great to show the results of our hard work to so many of my colleagues.’

Julia is really excited about her future career, too. ‘KONE provides great opportunities for job rotations, both within your broader function as well as globally. As a CEMSie, I have a strong desire to work abroad at some point of my career to get even more international exposure. Luckily with KONE, you don’t have to compromise interesting tasks when working away from the Espoo Headquarters as the company has operations in more than 60 countries.’ 

The application period for the CEMS programme begins in November 15th (Add-on CEMS MIM) and 30th (MSc in Global Management).

CEMS Graduation 2018_Photo: CEMS official

CEMS Master in International Management (MIM) at Aalto University

Study international management in the highly regarded, world's most international MIM programme at Aalto University School of Business. CEMS is a global alliance of academic and corporate institutions and NGOs, dedicated to educating and preparing future generations of international business leaders. At Aalto, you can study CEMS MIM as an Add-on CEMS MIM programme or as an integrated part of the Global Management programme. It includes an exchange term, business project, skills seminars and exclusive and elective courses.

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